Thursday, July 8, 2010

Piggy Tales: Goodby City life, Hello Rural life!

Hi!  I'm so glad you came back for the 5th of 15 stories of my Piggy Tales, which focuses on 3rd grade.  Do you have a particular memory from your 3rd grade year of life? I found there was several major things that happened this year for me.

I got a yellow parakeet, Pretty Bird, while living in FL. My previous blue one,  I had in KS was actually retarded and died while sitting on my finger at Grandma's a short time after I got him. He spent all his time on the bottom of the cage because he couldn't fly or climb the sides of the bird cage. I must have gotten her in Florida because she got loose outside several times down there, and we always got her back by tiring her out, as she flew from tree to tree, with a long poled fishing net. Our poodle used to chase military helicopters down the street, but Florida was where I got my fear of dachshunds, where one chased me on my bike and bit me. I can't stand those long little dogs to this day. 

 The summer before school started, we moved back to Kansas. It was actually exciting because we were going to live in the house across the street from my grandparents. A huge Allied Van Lines truck  parked outside our house and they put these little stickers on most things.  I couldn't honestly think how in the world they were going to find our house since they'd not been there before.  Somehow they made it. Bryan and I shared a tiny room with bunk beds for several years. 

I must say that life in Niotaze was not bad at all.  We live across the street from Grandma Wilson (Mom's mom) , we had INDOOR plumbing, and we were getting to spend time with some great cousins!  Life in this rural town was different that anything we'd ever had before. We roamed the hills that surrounded our town, walked the railroad tracks, rode our bikes in the middle of the street and dirt roads, and our parents didn't worry (at least they didn't let on if they did!)...  This was the year that my dream came true... On my birthday that year, I was given a Palomino horse I named Buttercup.  The first time I got on her, she ran away with me and ran all the way across town.  I didn't want to get back on her, but my father made me, which was for the best.  I never quite trusted her after that, but I loved riding her.  
  Grandma Wilson was great.  She had this huge tree close to her house that had this tractor tire that had sand in it for us to play  with the coolest Tonka Truck toys ever. Most of the time you could hear her playing and singing gospel hymns on the piano while her yellow canary joined in. Haskell Cooley was a favorite of her.   She had a chicken coop behind her house, and though I was scared of the rooster, I fondly remember feeding and gathering eggs, which she sold to people in town.  Grandma supplied fresh milk to many people in town, milking via her Jersey milk cow,Pansy. Below is a picture of her with Caffey (Pansy's calf), who somehow disappeared one day, but a few weeks later our deep freeze was suddenly full of meat... We loved going to the barn and sitting nearby because she would squirt milk into our mouths.

 Sundays found  us at Niotaze Christian Church. It was an old wooden church where we had hard pews, a huge wooden podium, upright piano, a small kitchen for Sunday church meals, and - guess what?  Yep, an outhouse!  Mrs. Ocena (O-see-na) Greer was my Sunday School Teacher - she must have come with the church, but we loved her as she taught us stories from the Bible, conducted the Christmas programs, and had us stand up on some Sunday morning and recite scripture.  My favorite hymn was Jesus is All the World to Me on page 222. 

Up to this point, I must say I really loved school.  It was fun, the teachers had activities that gave us hands on learning to apply to our lives, and I believed this year would be no different. Because we didn't have a school in our town, we rode the bus for an hour on the rural bus route.  That was sure an experience! 
Mrs. McKee, my 3rd grade teacher, was well loved by her students.  You could see that her smile, not only reached her eyes, but her heart.  Her classroom was in a modular unit that we shared with the other 3rd grade class. I remember that one boy brought his appendix in  a jar to Show and Tell, and she used to let us play Hot Potato, a play in October called Two, Too Many, that our class put on for the school. I know now that she had her hands full with the group of kids I graduated with.  More about that next week.  She has some special ties with Little House on the Praire, near Independence, KS, where Carrie was born, as her family happened to manage and promote the facility and she planned a field trip for us to visit there!  It was the best time!  She still teaches at Lincoln Memorial in the 5th grade.  Her students must be truly blessed!  Sadly, she had to take maternity leave and didn't return to the classroom and our long-term substitute, Mrs. Kellogg , frightened many of our class.  She often belittled students and I remember she was the first teacher to tell me I was stupid because I struggled with telling time and my multiplication tables. 
At that time, our school started students in choir and band in 3rd grade, with Mr. Redfern teaching us.  I remember learning traditional American folk songs, (Shenandoah, On Top of Old Smoky, My Country 'Tis of Thee, and more - many of which my children have never heard. We would go to choir competitions performing songs from plays, like Sneaky Snake. In band, they told us to try different instruments and see which one we liked best.  I wanted to play the trombone, but Mom said it wasn't "lady" like, so I got a Bundy flute for $125. Later I would be thankful to carry such a light-weight instrument, which I called my toothbrush case.    I was still taking piano lessons from Mrs. Todd - ugh, but no more Judo!

 I'm so thankful for Jana at Mommy's Piggy Tales, conceiving this idea and planting the seed for others to record their childhood for their children.  If you would like to read more Piggy Tales from other ladies, hope on Over to Mommy's Piggy Tales.  If for some reason you missed any of my previous posts, you can find them here:
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    This was a great addition to your story. I can't believe the amount of detail that you remember. I was more like, "let's see, who was my third grade teacher?" Teachers that call kids stupid make me really angry. (I am a former teacher.) And living near your Grandma ~ what a joy that would be.

    How is this experience of writing your story? Is God stirring up interesting things?


    Your kids will love having this.

    Judy Whatilivefor said...

    I loved reading about the tractor tire sandbox and sitting close enough to have milk squirted in your mouth...what a fun childhood! said...

    Just great...sounds like the most idealistic childhood ever. Enjoying the walk down memory is stretching my old brain to think back that far, but it has been great and enjoying everyone's stories

    Jenny said...

    I enjoyed reading your story. You're so lucky you got a horse. I had that same piano book. I've been to the Laura Ingalls home in Mansfield M0, and I've always wanted to visit the other ones.

    Raine said...

    What a joy to be able to read these stories and learn more about your childhood! I love the picture you have of Grandma and her calf. I had forgotten about the calf and the sand box! How could I forget? You are doing a wonderful job!

    The Couponing Kellys said...

    Great story! I am so sorry that teacher treated you that way. I had a 6th grade teacher belittle me. I swore I would never do that to my future students. What great memories of your Grandma you have. I wish mine would've lived longer so I could've had some more time with her. I really enjoyed reading your story!

    LizzieV. said...

    Gosh, it's such a shame that we live in such a world now where we can't turn our kids out to let them stretch their legs & explore nature; rambling through the "woods" behind my house was one of the best parts of elementary school for me, too. (Gathering eggs... hmmm, I did that one year when Papa raised chickens; I sometimes forget that. Must include that in next week...) I played clarinet, but sometime I wished I been allowed to play trombone, too!